Coronavirus may cause ‘sudden irreversible’ hearing loss: Rare case reported in UK

Coronavirus may cause ‘sudden irreversible’ hearing loss: Rare case reported in UK. A rare case of coronavirus has emerged in the UK where a 45-year-elderly person, after recovering from severe Covid-19, developed a sudden and permanent hearing loss.

Experts said this was a serious condition that needs early detection and treatment. According to a paper published in the BMJ diary, this is the first reported case of “sensorineural hearing loss” following Covid-19 infection in the UK.

“Given the widespread presence of the virus in the population and the significant morbidity of hearing loss, it is important to investigate this further,” the authors of the paper said.

According to the study, the early identification of sudden hearing loss is pivotal because “the condition can potentially be reversed with prompt treatment using steroids,” a report in Live Science quoted authors of the BMJ report as saying.

It further said that treatment only partially improved the UK patient’s hearing impairment. This “fast and unexplained” deafness apparently affects only one ear.

The authors have suggested doctors screen coronavirus patients for hearing loss “to abstain from missing the treatment window and decreasing hearing loss-associated morbidity”.

“Any patient reporting acute hearing loss ought to be referred to otolaryngology on an emergency basis,” they said.

What is the case?

A 45-year-old patient with asthma developed a sudden hearing loss while in hospital for the treatment of Covid-19, a report the diary BMJ said.

The man was admitted to hospital on day 10 of coronavirus symptoms and was subsequently transferred to the “intensive care unit (ITU) because of high work of breathing”. He was at the hospital for 30 days.

His condition eventually got “complicated by bilateral pulmonary emboli, ventilator-associated pneumonia, pulmonary hypertension and sickliness”, the report said.

He was also administered antiviral drug remdesivir, intravenous steroids and plasma exchange, which clinically improved his condition.

“Seven days after extubation and transfer out of ITU, he noticed left-sided tinnitus [ringing in ear] and sudden onset hearing loss. He had no previous history of hearing loss or ear pathology,” the study said.

Even after undergoing a physical test and MRI, doctors could not discover a cause of the patent’s hearing loss. Study authors said the man was fit and only had a medical history of before admission to the hospital.

How was he treated?

The authors of the paper said the fundamental treatment for the patient included the administration of steroids.

“He effectively completed a course of 60 mg oral steroids for 7 days which resulted in partial subjective improvement in his hearing. He subsequently had three rescue intratympanic injections of 0.5 mL methylprednisolone sodium succinate (125 mg/mL) which resulted in no further improvement in his hearing seen on pure tone audiograms” – demonstrating only partial improvement within the patient.

How common is this?

Authors said the sudden loss of hearing among coronavirus patients isn’t uncommon. Worldwide, there are 5-160 such cases per 100,000 people in a population each year.

“It is a relatively common pathology seen in otolaryngology, with a worldwide incidence of 5-160 cases per 100,000 people annually,” the report said.

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